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Article updated: 7/25/2013 7:58 AM

Pit bull kills smaller dog in Wauconda park, police say

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A 20-pound Shih Tzu was attacked and killed by a pit bull while the smaller dog was being walked by a caretaker in Wauconda's Cook Park, police confirmed Wednesday.

The attack occurred around 8 a.m. Tuesday, and the 10-year-old dog named Shibui Fong died of its wounds while being taken to Wauconda Animal Hospital, officials said.

"The dog minder is screaming as my dog is torn apart. On the scene, the young man appears -- the owner, wearing no shirt -- and he sees what's going on," said Wauconda resident Lisa Didier, the dog's owner. "He pulled my dog from the jaws of his dog, my dog drops, the man kicks his dog in the rear, sending him in the direction of home, and he began running."

Wauconda Deputy Police Chief Ted Hennessy said the pit bull's owner, John E. Bender of Wauconda, was charged with one count of dog at large and one count of disorderly conduct. Hennessy said "dog at large" charge is given to dog owners who don't have control over their animal in a public place.

Animal Control and Care program coordinator Robin VanSickle said Bender had been previously cited because his dog has attacked other animals.

Bender could not be reached for comment.

The 70-year-old Naperville woman who was walking the Shih Tzu said the pit bull appeared suddenly from the mouth of the boardwalk in Cook Park. The dog was unaccompanied and had no collar, tags or a leash, Judy Zeno said.

"I'm very comfortable with dogs, but I knew that when that pit bull was running at us, it was for the kill," Zeno said.

Didier was in Florida for her daughter's wedding at the time of the attack. She said Shibui was trained by her daughter to be the family's pet.

The dog also played a critical role in raising their other pet, a blind dog named Rocky, who was in the park with Zeno when the Shih Tzu was attacked.

"This dog (Shibui) was one of the special ones in a lifetime of dogs," Didier said.

Wauconda has no specific law for when a pet kills another pet as a result of negligence of the owner, officials said. Hennessy said more charges could be filed against Bender after the police investigation of the attack.

Didier said it's up to owners to raise their pets properly.

"I am not going to say that they (police) can do anymore than they're doing. It's the obligation of dog owners to know their dog and follow the regulations," she said. "Sure, you can say your dog has to be on a leash, but how many people listen? How many people care?"

Bender is scheduled to appear in Mundelein's branch court Aug. 23, police said.

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